Reflection On Rajasthan

The trip to Rajasthan was one I had been looking forward to for a long time – even before I knew it was happening! I have wanted to travel to India for a long time and when the opportunity came up I took it as quickly as I could! It didn’t feel like I was really going until we were all on the plane and had taken off, because I had been excited about it for so long.

There were a few aspects of India that were not what I had anticipated! What I expected was different to the reality for a number of reasons:

  1. Expectation: Bright colours and fabrics everywhere – almost every surface covered in pattern or some kind of fabric. Reality: Not every single surface was covered with colour or pattern – only within the palaces was this the case. However there was still a lot of pattern and other beautiful things (just not as much as I had presumed there was!)
  2. Expectation: Relative cleanliness on the streets. Reality: The streets are very dirty, with litter piled up in certain areas – the litter was something that shocked me, as I had never seen piles of rubbish that big in my life, only on TV when images of landfills had been shown; but this was on the street! Admittedly the piles were nowhere near the size of a landfill plot but I am so used to clean streets that it shocked me. The litter on the streets of Cathays after bin day seems like nothing now!
  3. Expectation: Shops would be small, and not many chain shops around. The shop owners would be friendly, but leave you to look around. Reality: Shops are small, but even smaller than I expected! Some had only enough room for one person to walk down to the end and back. Owners were most definitely friendly! Some would try to sell you every single item in the shop, whereas others may leave you to it but try to suggest items. The first was much more common though!

I think when you travel, there are always differences between your expectation and the reality. I experienced this when I went to Bolivia, and even Amsterdam.

I was inspired by the block printing that we saw, both in the Anokhi Museum and the factory the next day. The skill that it takes to carve those intricate patterns into the wood block is incredible, especially when they are making multiple blocks for the same pattern that have to line up! There is also incredible skill in the printers, being able to line up the blocks perfectly is not easy and they do it at great speed to get the work done as quickly as possible. I would like to try my own version of block printing in university – obviously I won’t be carving wood blocks any time soon, but I would like to take the basic principle of the technique and use it in my own practice.

Rajasthan was an amazing experience for me, and I cannot wait to go back to India and explore more places!

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